On Mother’s Day eve, a friend and I had the pleasure of dining with four men.
I was going to write four young men, but that’s not correct. The four serve with the U.S. Air Force. They’ve volunteered to serve our country, risk their lives to protect us. They may range in age from 18 to 24, but they are men.
My friend’s son had invited his buddies who couldn’t be with their moms for the day, because they couldn’t go more than 300 miles from base. They’d rented a car for the day. One was from Connecticut, one from Pennsylvania and the other from Indiana.
We laughed and ate, and I was amazed that such slim guys could put away so much food. They were certainly members of the Clean Plate Club.
We talked about their next assignments and what their goals were for their time in service. Each of them felt they needed to get as much education as they could, and one had planned to get a second job once he was settled on base so he could put aside money for the future. They dreamed about the future just as all young people do, but they were doing something about it now.
Sitting with them, I was overwhelmed at times by their generosity. I began to think of Jesus, who gave of his life to serve and to protect us from evil and to bring us into eternal life. Jesus’ work and gift 2,000 years ago set the standard for Christian behavior for all of us.
We need to take a lesson from the men and women who have committed themselves to serve us and protect us. Although they are afraid and unsure at times, they still realize they have a job to do, and that is to serve and protect.
We are a nation divided about the war in Iraq. We are divided for moral, social and religious reasons. Regardless of what we each of us believes is correct, we need to take time to thank the men and women in the uniformed services of our country. Every one of them is a volunteer; each signed on knowing that they might one day go to war.
With Memorial Day weekend coming up, we should remember all those who served. Each man and woman puts a life on the line for us. Some die; some return home; but all of them give so that we can enjoy the liberties that we have in this country. They need to know we care about them and appreciate their gift.
Two words — thank you — can warm a heart and bring some peace.
To contact the Rev. Alice DeLaurier-O’Neil, a retired Lutheran minister, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. All religious leaders in the Tracy community are invited to write columns for Reflections on Faith.